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Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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Palasan: Reinventing mainstream media

Spark of Law

MAINSTREAM media cannot operate in the same old ways, slanting the news to inject their political colors. CNN cannot play democrats, and Fox news, the republicans. ABS-CBN should stop playing as platform for the “yellowtards.”

The ways of the past, adopting political candidates as their own, masking the truths to fine tune to their ideologies, must stop.

If not, the option of the mainstream media is to lose their significance, and their voices drown in the avalanche of the voices in the social media. Journalism, as we knew it before, would be reduced to what Juan dela Cruz pour down in blogs, updates, and wall posts.

Propagandizing, sloganeering, and even proselytizing has no more place in the mainstream media. To continue this path is to blur further the thin line that separates journalism from the wall posts and updates in the social media. It would be a kiss of death for the mainstream media.

The fakery that is spread in the broadsheets only aggravate the situation. It is no different to the fake news that are being shared, re-posted, and going viral in the internet.

In this time that even a Juan dela Cruz can maintain a blog to spread fakery, the challenge for the mainstream media is not to reply with slanted news but with a thorough investigative journalism. The media is called upon to rise up to the challenge of putting up news that can withstand the test of truth and impartiality.

Social media is a plat-form of free expression. But it is still in its formative stage. Out there in the digital world, it is a free-for-all for fake news and lies, competing in the obviously out-numbered and out-shouted articles that bear truth and credibility.

It may take some time for the social media to be a reliable source of information. It is still finding its proper shape and form. In its evolution and development, social media may find its own purveyors of truth and rejectors of fake news. One day, social media may establish its own self-regulation.

But until then, journalism, the proponent of truth and credibility, must adhere to a higher standards than before. Investigative journalism must be able to educate, clarify, and purify the fakery in the internet.

The true journalists are our only vanguards against falsehoods. They should not succumb to the temptation of sloganeering and propaganda.

I recall in the 1982 Folio of the Collegian, then editor-in-chief Roan Libarios, inscribed in stone the challenge to journalists: “Journalism is not only a profession. It is a vocation. It is a commitment”. Journalism calls upon the commitment to truth.

Commitment to truth however demands a higher standard of research, investigation, objectivity, and competence.

Journalists should adhere to higher standards. They must educate the common man, and help them distinguish truth from lies, fiction from reality. Ironically, it is in the education of the common man that will ultimately deliver the death blow to the fake news being spread in the internet.

A combination of credible journalist and an educated reader will ultimately win the day in this battle between fakery and truth.

The mainstream media has no other option. Or else, it will lose its significance in the digital world - and in the real world as well.


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